Where is Agus Dwikarna?
This alleged Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist from Sulawesi disappeared days after coming home from the Philippines, where he had been imprisoned since 2002 on charges of possessing illegal explosives.
He returned in early January and spent a few days at his home in Makassar, but his whereabouts have since been unknown, Indonesian officials say. Police have not added Agus's name to the People Search List (DPO), but said they would remain vigilant against any threat posed by him.
"Agus Dwikarna could have threatened members of the Indonesian police not only in Central Sulawesi, but also throughout Indonesia – especially when he disappeared after his release," Central Sulawesi Police Spokesman Soemarmo told Khabar Southeast Asia, noting people in Sulawesi were surprised to hear Agus returned home and disappeared.
A litany of accusations
Agus was serving a 17-year sentence when the Philippines deported him to Indonesia. He arrived in Makassar on January 1st, according to Tribunnews.
A Filipino court convicted Agus 12 years ago for trying to board a flight to Bangkok from Manila with C-4 plastic explosives and bomb parts in his possession.
Though Agus denied those charges, he had an extensive history of involvement in terrorist-related activities, according to the UN. In September 2003, the UN's Security Council Committee listed him among people with alleged ties to the al-Qaeda network and direct involvement with the terror group's most senior leaders.
"Agus was a Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member and facilitator for al-Qaeda in Indonesia," according to the committee's online profile of him.
Until his 2002 arrest in Manila, Agus was "a major figure" of Laskar Jundullah in Makassar, military wing of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI), the UN said. He also worked as a regional head of the Indonesian branch of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which funnelled al-Qaeda money into Southeast Asia and gave its operatives cover as charity workers, the UN said.
Also according to the UN, apart from running a Sulawesi training camp, Agus escorted two of al-Qaeda's top leaders on a tour of Aceh Province: Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the terrorist group's top leader, and Mohammed Atef, head of al-Qaeda's military wing, who has since been slain. According to the UN, the two al-Qaeda leaders visited Aceh in June 2002, but other sources date their trip to June 2000.
"Islam is also a forgiving religion. I am sure he learned a lot about this during his imprisonment," Muhammad Yazid Fahri, a Muslim cleric in Makassar, told Khabar. "We also do not know the truth about the allegations against him. Only God knows."
Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail commented: "I am sure the Indonesian government will continue to monitor him. It is simple. If Agus is involved again, they [Indonesian authorities] can arrest him again. However, I don't think that will happen."
M. Taufan S.P. Bustan in Palu, Sulawesi contributed to this article.
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